Breaking Bad Habits: Tips and Tricks

Breaking Bad Habits: Tips and Tricks Working in Skilled Trades

Whether you’re a plumber, electrician, contractor, or another skilled trade professional, you know there’s nothing worse than struggling with a bad habit that gets in your way. But breaking those patterns and adopting new, productive ones can be super challenging. Not to worry, though — in this post, we’ll share some tips and tricks that will help you break bad habits and sharpen your skills as a skilled tradesperson.

First, let’s define what bad habits are in the context of skilled trades. They can encompass a wide range of behaviors, including:

• Procrastination
• Skipping safety protocols
• Not communicating effectively with clients and coworkers
• Not paying attention to details
• Not using the correct tools and equipment
• Not planning ahead
• Taking shortcuts
• Blaming others for problems

Now that we know what bad habits are, let’s dive into ways to break and replace them with good ones.

1. Understand the Triggers

One of the most effective ways to break bad habits is to understand their causes, or triggers. Triggers are the events, emotions, and situations that lead you to engage in the habit or behavior you want to change. By identifying the triggers, you can learn to avoid them or find alternative ways to cope with them. It can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort.

2. Set Goals

Setting goals is essential to break bad habits. Start by identifying an area where you’re struggling, and then create a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. For example, if your bad habit involves procrastination, your SMART goal might be: “Complete all projects within 48 hours of receiving them for the next four weeks.” Make sure your goals are realistic, and plan how you’ll measure your progress.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

Changing habits is difficult, and one method that can help is to use positive reinforcement. When you reinforce a behavior, you increase the likelihood that it will occur again. Positive reinforcement can involve rewarding yourself when you succeed, such as taking a break or doing something enjoyable. It can also involve receiving praise, positive feedback, or recognition from others.

4. Cultivate a Support System

Having a support system can be a big help to breaking bad habits. Whether it’s family, friends, or colleagues, surrounding yourself with people who understand your challenges and goals can provide motivation and encouragement. They can also hold you accountable and remind you why you started in the first place.

5. Focus on One Habit at a Time

Breaking bad habits can be overwhelming when you have several you want to change. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, focus on one habit at a time. By doing so, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed and increase your chances of success.

Breaking Bad Habits in Skilled Trades

Now that we’ve covered some general tips for breaking bad habits, let’s talk specifically about how they apply to skilled trades. Due to the nature of their work, skilled trades professionals face unique challenges when it comes to breaking bad habits. Here are some ways to approach the most common bad habits in the trades:

1. Skipping Safety Protocols

Safety should always be a top priority when working in the trades. Skipping safety protocols, such as not wearing protective equipment, can lead to serious injury or even death. To combat this bad habit, make safety a non-negotiable part of your job. Set up protocols and stick to them no matter what.

2. Not Planning Ahead

Not planning can lead to mistakes, incomplete work, and unhappy clients. To break this habit, create a plan for each project. Make a checklist of every step that needs to be done and when. This will help you stay organized and on track.

3. Taking Shortcuts

In some cases, taking shortcuts can save time and money. However, it can also lead to poor quality work, which can reflect negatively on your reputation. To break this habit, remind yourself of the importance of doing things right the first time. Also, focus on the long-term benefits of quality work versus the short-term benefits of cutting corners.

4. Blaming Others for Problems

Blaming others for problems is a common bad habit in many professions, and the trades are no exception. In skilled trades, it’s especially important to own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for correcting them. To do this, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and focus on how you can improve rather than who’s at fault.

Bottom Line

Breaking bad habits is a challenging but necessary process if you want to succeed in skilled trades. By understanding your triggers, setting goals, using positive reinforcement, cultivating a support system, and focusing on one habit at a time, you can break free from bad habits and develop new skills and behaviors that will help you excel in your field. Remember, changing habits takes time, so be patient and stay committed. With time and effort, you can achieve your goals and thrive as a skilled trades professional.

Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

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